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Kryptonbornson Blog

The Vocal Minority

Not too much on the subject, but just a few thoughts after seeing how slow the Steam pre-orders are going for Resident Evil: Revelations. Capcom is making the HD remake because fans demanded it, but it doesn't seem like it was that many fans. Resident Evil 6 hit the pre-order goals in what seemed like record time, even with mixed reviews and seemingly unanimous Resident Evil 6 hate from loud mouths on gaming sites. It might not have sold as well as 2, 4, or 5, but 6 sold well. Just not well enough for it's budget. So if people seem to be demanding games like Revelations, why aren't as many people buying it? My obvious answer is that less people actually demand survival horror games than actually complain about it. I think Capcom's projected sales of 1.2 million is pretty spot on and without the hate and bad reviews, Resident Evil 6 could have sold 6 or 7 million...and rightfully should have. It's the same thing with how people are claiming Bioshock Infinite is the best game they've ever played and it being almost universally acclaimed. The people that speak out against it, get teamed up on or ignored, but yet it's actual sales are probably in the 2 million range (just a guess), while the shipped copies are 3.7 million, which I doubt will sell (again, just an opinionated guess). Max Payne 3's sales were lukewarm as we can remember, so obviously they haven't sold many of those 4 million shipped copies at all. They don't translate into sales if the game stores can ship them back. Regardless of how much the vocal minority claim they love the game, the silent majority aren't buying it. They know it's just a generic shooter and they aren't that interested in generic fantasy shooters unless it has a really good hook. They'd rather Call of Duty, at least in part because it has a large community playing it that gives the game value. Infinite doesn't even have multiplayer to boost the apparent value of said generic shooter. I don't play multiplayer, so when you have a weak campaign and story, it give BS: Infinite very little value to real non-vocal customers. Anyway, it's nice to know that despite how people complain, for the most part, the vocal minority aren't the biggest influence over sales, despite the fact that they CAN and do influence sales, especially in the case of awesome games like Resident Evil that I've loved since the beginning. Honestly, despite the fact I liked 5, I almost thought Resident Evil was done after that. I thought it would change so much I wouldn't buy them at launch, but 6 restored my faith. If the games started to be more like Revelations, I don't think I can deal with that. I've gotten my pre-order in, but most likely won't get the bonuses I wanted. This will likely be my last pre-order for anything. After the demo, I know I'll enjoy the throwback, but....I might sound like a hater, but I don't want this to sell as well. Corporations follow dollars not loud mouths.

Next-Gen and Used Games

I'm going to put it out there. I doubt most of us knew when we started buying used games that it was a problem, people buy used games and movies out of convenience. If you even so much as stop and think about it, you'd figure it out. That doesn't mean people won't take advantage of the convenience of a cheaper price and flexibility. I was in junior high before I started selling games. No one did it except the pawn shops, Electronic Boutique and Babbages dealt mostly in computer games and didn't start excepting trade-ins later. Pawn shops did the exact same thing that Gamestop did, except they did that with even lava lamps if they had a chance and routinely do. Pawn shops are about exploitation, most people when they get financially stable never use a pawn shop again...even though they still get the stuff they don't want anymore on Amazon. We used to just trade games with friends. If you liked your trade enough, you'd make it permanent, just like ball cards.

1) We all want to support the devs, that way we get better games and they can stay in business. Otherwise they tank, no more L.A. Noire for instance. If you don't want to support the devs, you won't be missed. 1a) Again, games are better than EVER, games have ALWAYS rehashed, but even the rehashes now are classics compared to old games. In fact, we used to want rehashes instead of sequels. Kind of how your Mom might read another author that reads just like Danielle Steel until the next Danielle Steel novel comes out. What we want are good games, the genres WILL repeat themselves, we just want if fresh that what they've been doing. People confuse technological innovation with creativity. There have been top down large world games for a while for instance, only a matter of time before they 3D tech let them do it sucessfully, then came games like Wind Waker and Grand Theft Auto 3, in the same gen no less.

2) It's not that we need used games, we just need assurance of value. Guys that like Call of Duty know it's worth $60 because they'll put 300 hours into it. People that like Elder Scrolls and Fallout will feel the same. However, if you make a bad decision, you want to be able to get you money back. You can get movie ticket refunds in certain circumstances, but the reason in most circumstances that you can't return movie, games, or music is because you can copy them. It's was never their idea for you to sell it. Remember when VHS tapes used to be new video game prices? No? They wised up. New movies are $20 or less now. People used to give away used movies before they sold them...however, selling movies used in quantity has become convenient.

2a) People just want the opportunity to sell their game if they don't like it, or to trade it's value for something else, that' only necessary with a game because of it's cost. $60 is an investment. They wouldn't sell as many new games if it weren't for used games.

2b)They just need to lower prices and hold-outs who would have purchased them used will just buy them new AND earlier just like with movies and music. Even with books many will wait for the paperback because it's cheaper. Used is any afterthought in those cases. It started out just like used games, people going to record stores to find music they don't sell anymore, pawn shops, or places like Half-priced books that specialized in old or new overstock books, and other popular media. Lowering the price of new items makes shopping for used stuff a hobby. Not one of us actually thought they would find all the old issues of the furry comics we used to find used, but we couldn't find them new either.

3a)There are alot of people that prefer console over PC because of this. I'm still regretting my Borderlands and Dragon Age 1&2 purchases like I said before. We used to just say they weren't working and some employees would give us a refund or they sat on the shelf until a friend wanted to trade for it.
3b)People WOULD stop buying as many new games. $60 is prohibitive.

In conclusion, We don't need to exaggerate about the quality or length of games, they're fine. They should be charging cheaper prices or learning how to separate multiplayer from single player budgets. Games are plenty good and plenty long, their pricing structure just needs to be more varied and they need to make the leap from renting/demoing to purchase an impulse buy. When movies became cheap it was nothing to purchase a movie you loved at the theater on DVD.

I guess what most people are raging over is that USED games aren't really the problem. Piracy isn't either, neither are rentals. You can even sell your old action figures if you get tired of them. Granted the price is cheap enough people won't bother or they'll want to hold onto what they have. I still have an old copy of Panza Dragoon Saga and I'll keep a copy of Forest Gump and Color Purple on DVD and when I get a Blu-Ray player I'll upgrade. No doubt Arkham City isn't a kid who used to play with action figure's wet dream. Who would trade that if they didn't get so much money back for it? Even if Gamestop sell it back with a huge markup, I don't think that's their goal. It's just not their problem.

I've ranted quite a bit about what games used to be in my era, I'm 32 now, and how good I think games have gotten, but it will fall on deaf ears for young people. They think everything sucks. Funny, when I was a youth we thought everything was "cool" even some stuff that sucked. There was a very high threshold between a good comic and a bad one, everything from Excellent to mediocre left you giddy every month, even the X-men playing basketball, developing character, and wrapping up plot points was a worthy comic. Now, people take some of the greatest shooters ever made, Crysis 2, Rage, Bulletstorm, and say they suck? In my years I look back and can't find anything better. I'm not so blind that I can't say when a game has flaws, but I know when it's better than what came before it. Final Fantasy 3 (US) wouldn't have the same effect after playing Mass Effect 3 for instance, even though FF3 ended better.

Games used to be incredibly short, just search for "speed run" on YouTube and you'll see games that took us weeks, months, several rentals, or codes to beat being conquered in 15 minutes. Looking at those you'll see how much of the games are intentionally cheap, some were based on arcade games, which got the name "coin munchers" for a reason, so you died alot. Not because they took skill. I felt like Gears of War 1 was a remake of Contra, but extremely better. You could change weapons, and there was even the major power-up being the hammer of dawn. At least that's what I kept feeling when I played it. I paid LESS for Gears than my mom paid for Contra back then. Guess which one I feel is better? If you picked Gears, then you'll get to know me splendidly.

I even stopped ranting about how on rails Call of Duty was when I considered the first shooter I ever mastered was Panzer Dragoon Zwei. After I beat it 100% I kept playing and even got the 101% secret Lagi from the first game. Definition of on rails 3D shooter. How soon we forget.

I remember in the Final Fantasy and Zelda days, we used to dream of games like GTA 3, when it finally came true, imagine how awesome that was. My eyes couldn't comprehend what they were seeing the first time I played Sonic 2 it was so colorful, so many things were moving, and it was so fast. It wasn't ANYTHING about creativity. It was 100% about what the devs wanted to do vs. what technology allowed them to do. Funny now they complain about development costs. Where I'm going with this is that Crytek was ALWAYS one of those companie that PUSHED tech, including alot of people's beloved PC gaming. They've never been afraid of it and they now hold in Crysis 2, not only the best looking shooter I can think of, but one of the most fun. If they're being hurt by used games and want their profit, I for one want to be on their side. To make games cheaper, they have to bypass retail. If EA owns Crytek, they could just charge $30 on Origin. They won't do that though. EA still charges $60 for new PC games. We have to fight them and disagree with them on that point. Until they put they fans first, it will always be us vs them.